The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Kandagawa Jet Girls: Review and Reflection After Three

“Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking.” ―Rick Steves

The race between Rin, Misa, Kaguya and Kuromaru begin. While Rin and Misa pull to an early lead, Kuromaru’s sharpshooting slows down the two long enough for Kaguya to take the lead. The commentators explain that jet ski racing is a sport of speed, with the water guns being intended to slow down competitors. The wetsuits that the competitors wear are designed to automatically disengaged after sustaining enough hits as a safety feature, and moreover, while Rin’s Orcano is a balanced jet ski with solid acceleration and manoeuvrability, Kaguya’s Tamakaze has a much greater stability and top speed, allowing it to dominate on straight tracks. Rin’s natural performance with a jet ski impresses Kaguya, who considers using the boost ability to win the race, but ultimately manages to win anyways thanks to Kuromaru’s marksmanship. Far from being disappointed at their loss, Rin is exhilarated and resolves to start a Jet Ski racing club at her high school. After convincing instructor Yamada to be their advisor, Rin attempts to recruit the required number of members to form an official club. She manages to recruit Hina, one of her classmates, to act as the club manager, and later, with Misa’s help, entices Kiriko, a mechanical enthusiast, to participate on the promise that she’s allowed to maintain and customise the Orcano to her heart’s content. Her latest attempt to submit a club application is met with resistance until the student council president, Fumika, learns that Rin intends to compete against Kaguya again. With their club formed, Misa sets Rin out on a training regimen that the latter manages to keep up with, and as a reward, decides to show Misa around Tokyo. On the day of their date, the two become separated, and Rin runs into two foreign racers, Jennifer Peach and Emily Orange. They take Rin around, and later, after meeting up with Misa, Rin gives souvenirs to her newfound friends when Misa becomes enamoured with a keychain that Emily is eyeing. They decide to settle things with a jet ski race. A quarter of the way into Kandagawa Jet Girls, the series has done a passable job of rationalising the mechanics of jet ski racing, and further establishes the visual spectacle that the sport entails.

From a thematic perspective, Kandagawa Jet Girls appears to follow the tried-and-true route of placing an energetic, outgoing character together with a stoic, reserved individual. While Misa might not be particularly versed at speaking her mind, Rin’s optimism and energy convinces her that jet ski racing is intended to be enjoyed, and she finds herself drawn to Rin in spite of herself. When Rin asks her to join the jet ski racing club, she initially hesitated, but would quickly come around. Her reflections show that she once took the sport very seriously, and never regarded her competitors as friends. Feeling that the sport was too casual, she eventually left it, and seeing Rin’s spirits has begun imparting a change in her. Whereas Misa avoided jet ski racing earlier on, her commitment to Rin slowly begins manifesting as she becomes impressed with Rin’s devotion and spirits. This is why Misa becomes interested in picking the yellow dolphin keychain: Rin had possessed a blue dolphin earlier but wears a yellow wetsuit in races, whereas Misa wears a blue wetsuit. The dolphin thus comes to represent the idea that Rin must be complementary to her, and when this token is threatened, Misa decides to accept a challenge to win it both for herself, and for Rin. There is, in short, a surprising amount of character growth in Kandagawa Jet Girls, and the value of following this one through lies in seeing how Misa develops as she spends more time with Rin and the jet ski racing club. Like Azur Lane, Kandagawa Jet Girls will likely continue to show how the easygoing mood that accompanies Rin begins to help Misa comes to terms with her own views of the sport, which is expected to help Rin improve as a racer and also send the club down the path of allowing Rin to experience a race with Kaguya again.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Before we go any further, I remark that this Kandagawa Jet Girls post, and all future posts, will feature papilla mammaria to some capacity, so if that’s not to your liking, now is the perfect time to mash that back button or close this tab. I figure that I should at least feature these moments to keep things engaging for viewers, and remark that, considering how terse and serious discussions on Kandagawa Jet Girls everywhere else are, one should not begrudge me for trying to liven things up a little.

  • While Rin worries about Misa’s well being, an embarrassed Misa replies that she’s fine, and that Rin ought to focus more on the race. It turns out that the guns the shooters use are amped-up water guns with a limited ammunition reserve. When used against jet skis, they will slow a jet ski down somewhat. Consistent hits to the jet ski, or to critical areas, will cause noticeable performance losses.

  • A long range rifle, such as the one Kuromaru wields, would be advantageous for Kaguya and the Tamakaze: with a long acceleration time, the Tamakaze’s main edge lies in its mass. Once it picks up sufficient speed, it dominates on stretches of straight track, but until then, Kaguya is dependent on Kuromaru to snipe at a distance while the Tamakaze accelerates to maximum speed.

  • It is later revealed that Kaguya and Kuromaru are top-tier jet ski racers, having gone undefeated for quite some time. Per my forecast, they are Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ equivalent of Ayasa and Narumi, acting as a highly skilled opponent whose performance inspires the protagonists to pick up the sport. For Rin, she’s simply captivated at being able to square off against the best, and for Misa, she will come to support Rin as she recalls what made the sport fun for her, rather similar to the dynamic between Haruka and Kanata.

  • Despite not having any formal training or understanding of jet ski racing, Rin’s prior experience with operating jet skis and a natural talent for operating the Orcano allows her to surprise Kaguya during the race. Rin’s performance is actually such that Kaguya considers deploying her boost to win the race: Kaguya has prided herself on only used the boost on a handful of occasions, preferring to count on her skill to achieve victory. In this way, Kaguya is rather like myself: I tend not to deploy power-ups in games, saving them for situations where I might need them to extricate myself from a difficult situation.

  • Once Misa gets her head back in the game, she opens fire on Kaguya and Kuromaru with her MP5, getting even with Kuromaru and blowing off her entire wetsuit. PDWs typically are used in close quarters, where their compact size and firepower allow them to be effective. This choice of weapon suggests that Misa prefers engaging her opponents at close range to buy her driver space, which in turn would lend credence to the idea that Misa is someone who trusts her driver greatly and only uses her weapon where the race is close to give her team an edge.

  • Having the announcers explain the basics of the first race allowed me to quickly grasp what was happening, and this in turn created a more enjoyable experience where I could simply focus on the race and what the characters were doing, rather than speculate on how the characters’ actions at one point lead to the final outcome.

  • Overall, my previous experiences with weapon types and their roles in the context of a first-person shooter means that I will have plenty to say about what the different weapons and jet ski setups say about each of the teams that we will see in Kandagawa Jet Girls – while I count myself as being moderately familiar with the Pacific Theatre, Azur Lane does not appear to offer quite as much to talk about as Kandagawa Jet Girls. There’s also a game that’s supposed to release in January 2020, so gaming mechanics would likely be relevant to the anime, as well.

  • Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ game incarnation will initially release for PS4 and is developed by Marvelous, who’d previously done the Senran Kagura games. While no PC release has been scheduled yet, I would pick up the PC game if it became available, if only for the fact that I’d probably pick a semi-automatic rifle as my weapon of choice. Rin can be seen cooling off with a Dyson fan in the derelict shack that houses the Orcano. Like Haruka, Rin is completely okay with the outcome of their race with Kaguya and Kuromaru, having now experienced first-hand the excitement of a jet ski race.

  • Moments like this are why I’ve opted to stick with a larger post format of thirty screenshots for Kandagawa Jet Girls. The series’ unique combination of T & A, with surprisingly solid jet ski racing animation and a generally solid art quality means that the series is visually appealing, and there are many moments that I could share my thoughts on. Consequently, I have decided to pick up Kandagawa Jet Girls as the series to write about. This means that Rifle is Beautiful will be given the same review pattern as Azur Lane, and with the third episode coming out Sunday, I’ll be able to explore why this is in more detail.

  • Kaguya’s reactions further reinforce the idea that she’s competed against or with Misa previously: while she and Kuromaru had won their race, Kaguya can’t help but feel that had Rin chosen to activated her boost, the race’s outcome might have turned out to be quite different. Given the way Kandagawa Jet Girls is set up, I imagine that for the time being, Rin and Misa won’t be able to race Kaguya and Kuromaru for a while yet, since Rin is still evidently a novice in the sport.

  • Entranced by the prospect of operating the Orcano again, Rin decides to form the jet ski racing club at her high school. Whereas most anime show the protagonist starting with just under the requirement of five members, Kandagawa Jet Girls has Rin recruiting the advisor first. She approaches Yamada, who yields without too much difficulty, standing in sharp contrast with other series like K-On!, where finding members was the straightforward part.

  • Rin’s smile is reminiscent of Yuru Camp△‘s Nadeshiko, and it’s smiles like this that allow Rin to persuade those around her to be more optimistic. Right out of the gates, Rin was a character that I immediately took a liking to, and like Haruka from Harukana Receive, it seems like very little can dissuade Rin from a positive outlook on things. This optimism is likely to be instrumental as Kandagawa Jet Girls continues on.

  • Such moments attest to the fact that Kandagawa Jet Girls is meant to be regarded as an easygoing anime: so far, discussions on the series have remained limited to the fanservice, as well as the characters designs. The series’ reputation clearly precedes it, and folk have not really begun to look beyond the superficial aspects of Kandagawa Jet Girls to consider where the series could go.

  • As it turns out, Rin’s a bit of an artist, and she recounts the struggle she experiences in attempting to recruit new members through simplistic but adorable drawings. I imagine that Rin’s energy and status as a recent transfer student makes it difficult for her: she does not command much interest with the latter, and the former may intimidate the people she approaches. Misa’s posture suggests a disinterest, and the lighting here further shows the gap in personalities: Misa is in the shadows, while Rin sits in the light.

  • Rin is rather fond of Misa, and will not hesitate to hug her whenever the moment calls for it. It does lead to some moments that are more questionable when taken out of context, although insofar, Kandagawa Jet Girls has not delved into the realm of yuri: while Rin might be rather clingy, there’s nothing yet to indicate that her friendship with Misa is anything more than just a friendship.

  • While Rin initially has trouble securing the last member, the student council president, Fumika, decides to join Rin’s jet ski racing club. Her desire to see Kaguya defeated means that she likely has had some experience in jet ski racing before, or at least some sort of quarrel to settle with Kaguya. This turn of events was unexpectedly hilarious, and it will be curious to know what role Fumika will play in things later down the line.

  • As it turns out, Rin had never really considered if Misa had really wanted to join the jet ski racing club. However, compelled by Rin, Misa accepts Rin’s invitation, thus bringing the club to the required number of members. Rin thus holds the club’s first meeting, and sets the goal of getting the club to a point where they can begin competing in local races. Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ premise exists purely for the sake of showcasing anatomy, but despite this, has proven to be reasonably well-justified even after three episodes.

  • Of course, the good folks of tango-victor-tango have taken a different stance on Kandagawa Jet Girls and, in their typical manner, are quick to mark the series with the one-liner “ugly, boring, and has no grasp of how to properly integrate fanservice”, which appropriately describes the nature of the discussion’s participants: while I’ve not been an active member of their community for over five years, I still swing by to see what discussions are hosted there on the shows I follow to see what deficiencies they may sport.

  • I am generally not disappointed, and it seems like now, any semblance of critical thinking at tango-victor-tango is nonexistent, if their members think that one-liners constitute meaningful, analytical discussion or that having a large list of dropped anime increases their credibility. This is where the page quote comes from: I don’t particularly care for people who tear shows down and never seem to spend time with what they do like. Back in Kandagawa Jet Girls, Misa and Rin begin training their stamina as a part of their club activities. While Misa initially expected Rin to tire out from her regimen, Rin keeps up surprisingly well.

  • I know that this post comes a bit later than I’d like: while my typical weekday evenings entail coming home and chilling (which is when most of my blogging gets done), this past Thursday, I got a pair of tickets to the Flames game and therefore spent the evening cheering on the home team, who won in a thrilling 6-5 match over the Florida Panthers in a shootout. Before the game, I stopped by a Shawarma house near my workplace: they’re known for massive portions, and the wrap I had was absolutely loaded, being more beef shawarma, vegetables and hot sauce than wrap.

  • Thursday’s 6-5 victory marks the first time I’ve ever seen a shootout in person, and with this victory, we climb in the standings, although the fact that we gave up five goals means that defense needs to improve if we are to stand any chance in the playoffs. Back on the topic of Kandagawa Jet Girls and anime with a great deal of fanservice, it is not lost on me that it seems like all things ecchi are at the focus of undue discussion, with some arguing that anyone who accepts it will view detractors as endorsing censorship. I suppose it was only a matter of time before that crowd entered the space of anime, and with these rather irrelevant issues making their way into anime, I’ll do my best to steer clear of them and continue doing what I typically do.

  • While Misa might not be good with expressing herself, she does get credit for making an effort and chooses to spend time with Rin, taking her on a tour of Asakusa. Located in Taitō, Asakusa is particularly famous for the Sensō-ji temple and its massive gate, as well as for being home to numerous other shrines. Misa intends on taking Rin to a café with the unusual distinction of serving orange juice on tap, but the real-world Asakusa is also known for its street foods, including satsuma imo (sweet potatoes) and chikuwa kamaboko (grilled fish cakes).

  • In the crowds of Asakusa, Rin becomes separated from Misa. Misa sits down and attempts to contact Rin, but since she does not have her number, this becomes a more difficult task. It is here that Misa’s past with jet ski racing is shown in a limited extent; it looks like Misa was once a try-hard, which alienated her from other competitors and presumably led her to quit competitions. I expect that this will be elaborated upon in more detail.

  • More cautious fans regard Kandagawa Jet Girls as a vessel for fanservice intended to promote the PS4 game, but as having a passable story and premise. This should be no surprise given its connection to Senran Kagura, and I remark that I am perhaps a lot more optimistic about this series than most viewers. My expectations for Kandagawa Jet Girls are relatively basic – I am looking for a colourful series set in a world whose characters’ journey is enjoyable.

  • Rin encounters Jennifer and Emily by chance after picking up a trinket belonging to Emily. These two students have a very exaggerated air about them, exhibiting the tendencies of stereotypical foreigners who’ve taken to some aspects of Japanese culture. Despite their gaudy manner, they appear friendly enough and immediately take to Rin, giving her a tour of the Asukasa area that Misa had intended to do.

  • I’ve not yet mentioned the soundtrack for Kandagawa Jet Girls yet: while the incidental music is able to convey the mood surrounding Rin’s everyday experiences and jet ski racing, it is nothing particularly remarkable, and similarly, the opening and ending songs have not been particularly standout. On the flip-side, Kandagawa Jet Girls does have above-average visuals. Despite some rough spots during the races, the artwork and animation is of a generally high quality and rather pleasing to watch.

  • Misa runs into Rin, Jennifer and Emily later, stopping at a small shop for drinks adjacent to a rail line. The Senran Kagura series is infamous for non-rigid body dynamics that won’t conform to any physical laws, and it appears that Kandagawa Jet Girls has inherited this trait: as Rin fights with Emily for the yellow dolphin keychain, passing trains cause oscillations that would be impossible in reality.

  • While Rin had been excited to board the Orcano and challenge Kaguya and Kuromaru, this race against Emily and Jennifer has Rin a little more nervous, since she’s squaring off against newfound friends. On one hand, Rin would rather not start things off with competition, but at the same time, she wants Misa to be happy, as well, putting her in a conundrum of sorts.

  • Emily and Jennifer use a jet ski of unknown properties, and Jennifer wields the water-gun equivalent of a shoulder-fired rocket launcher. These weapons are typically intended for anti-armour roles and can be surprised to be unwieldy, tricky but also devastatingly powerful if they connect, mirroring Jennifer and Emily’s flamboyant nature, and also hinting that these two might be risk-takers. With this post in the books, the only posts I have planned for the month are for Rifle is Beautiful and a Terrible Anime Challenge post for Blend S.

While the premise between Kandagawa Jet Girls and Azur Lane differ considerably, after three episodes, there is a possibility that the underlying themes could share some overlap. One would therefore reasonably expect that I cover both series in similar levels of detail. However, whereas I have elected not to cover Azur Lane in greater detail, I do intend on writing about Kandagawa Jet Girls at quarterly intervals. The reason for this decision boils down to the fact that Kandagawa Jet Girls has a much more focused, well-defined premise of jet ski racing, whose mechanics are simple to grasp, as well as the smaller character count: the large cast of Azur Lane meant that it took time for Enterprise to be established as the lead protagonist, while in Kandagawa Jet Girls, Misa and Rin are clearly the main characters the story revolves around. Kandagawa Jet Girls thus has a bit more of a solid ground for discussion, and in conjunction with the more blatant anatomical lessons the characters provide, this series seems to be rather more entertaining to write for. Consequently, pushing into the fall season, I am rather looking forwards to seeing both where Kandagawa Jet Girls goes, as well as seeing what boundaries I can push with my blogging, specially with respect to keeping the discussions fresh and meaningful even as I am given face-fulls of papilla mammaria with a consistent frequency.

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